Evaluating the effectiveness of a personalized, pedagogy-based technology professional development model in teacher preparation programs
Technology plays an integral part in today’s classrooms, so there is no question that it should play an equally important role in teacher preparation programs. While technology classes are in place in most institutions, research has shown that some College of Education faculty members, especially those in content areas outside technology, are still resistant to the pedagogical use of technological tools in their curriculum (Britten & Craig, 2006; Trehearn, 2010; Tondeur et al., 2010). Barriers cited range from lack of access to appropriate tools and inadequate professional development to low self-efficacy and negative attitudes toward the effectiveness of technology integration (Reid, 2014). This causes a problem because not only are students missing out on valuable learning experiences that only technology can provide, but effective modeling of pedagogical-based technology has been shown to encourage pre-service teachers’ use of technology once in the field (Baylor & Ritchie, 2002; Strudler & Wetzel, 1999, Tondeur, 2011). A large university in the southeastern United States has developed a pedagogy-based, personalized instructional technology professional development model that aims to address this problem by providing faculty members with timely, personalized professional development, resources, and support. The purpose of this qualitative study was to evaluate the effectiveness of this pedagogical-based, personalized, professional development model as it pertains to these particular barriers in hopes of promoting effective technology use in the teacher education program. Frequent participants of this model were interviewed to provide the researcher some insight into their experiences with the lab, best practices, and the professional development’s impact on their technology usage. Participants were asked to provide artifacts to demonstrate their increased technology integration and the artifacts did indicate changes in teaching and use of technology. Based on the findings, this model did have an impact on technology usage in the teacher education classroom – not only with the teachers, but with the students as well. Artifacts and participant discussion of students’ improvement in class work supported this claim. The study findings revealed five major themes: a) unexpected learning occurs; b) on-demand, personalized professional development is a necessity; c) need for extended opportunities for learning; d) changes in teaching; and e) benefits to students.